Crème Brûlée . The mere mention of this custard of all custards immediately makes my mouth water. It’s delicious and delectable, and I love serving it to our guests.
Crème Brûlée‘s Classic History
It’s a dessert that’s been around for centuries. The earliest known reference to Crème Brûlée is found in a 1691 cookbook, Le Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois, by Francois Massialot, a French chef who was chef de cuisine to Phillippe I. Duke of Orleans (who was brother to Louis XIV). According to White House records, Thomas Jefferson had served Crème Brulee to his guests during his presidency.
Crème Brûlée has gone through many changes over time. As a result, today’s version is a rich custard with a caramelized sugar topping. The recipe calls for turbinado sugar to be sprinkled on top of the cooked custard. The sugar is then melted with a torch. The torching process needs to be done very carefully so the sugar is melted without being burned.
C’mon Baby, Light My Fire
Note: I have tried several culinary torches, but I have found the best torch is the one I got from a hardware store. It’s basically a blue propane canister, and it’s not elegant or flashy, but it does get the job done.
The Finishing Touches To Our Fabulous Custard
I top each Crème Brûlée with berries, fresh whipped cream, and a mint leaf. I like to serve it in a 4 oz. fluted ramekin, and I will set one in front of each of our guests. Each guest will deliver a firm rap to the top with the back of a spoon. As a result, the crust will shatter making the rich custard accessible to them.
The spoons make a marvelous sound as our guests are try to get that last little bit of custard out of the edges and fluted sides of the ramekin. It’s music to my ears.
Crème Brûlée (A Fitting End To A Great Meal)
1/2 quartCream heavy
1 1/2 tspVanilla extract
1/2 cupSugar turbinado divided into 2 x 1/4 cups
3Egg yolks from large eggs
1 tea kettleWater hot
Enter Target Time _______________
Time: __________ (3 hours to 3 days prior to target time)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Place cream and vanilla in a 3-quart saucepan. Over med-high heat bring to boil.
Remove from heat and cover with lid. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl whisk together ¼ cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and just starts to lighten in color.
Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually.
Pour the liquid into the 4-oz. ramekins.
Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan.
Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Cover pan loosely with foil and bake in center oven.
Cook for 60 minutes rotating the pan 180 degrees one time (to cook evenly). Check on custard towards the end. Should be set but trembling in center. An inserted knife should come out clean. Don’t overcook.
Remove ramekins from pan. Place on wire rack to cool.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Time: __________ (50 minutes prior to target time)
Remove the Crème Brûlée from the refrigerator.
Wait at least 30 minutes prior to browning sugar.
Divide the remaining ¼ cup turbinado sugar equally among the six dishes and spread evenly on top.
Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Be careful not to burn it.
Allow the Crème Brûlée to sit at least 5 minutes before adding any toppings. Serve it to your guests with demitasse cups of coffee brewed in a French press, and then sit back and wait for the ramekin chorus to begin.